Rebels hold final practice before BancorpSouth Grove Bowl

By School report

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss football team held its final practice of the spring season before the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl on Saturday.

The Rebels practiced Thursday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in just helmets and shoulder pads in preparation for the spring game Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will feature four 15-minutes quarters with a running clock. Stadium gates will open at noon and CSS will televise the game live.

“We did a little draft with our coaching staff and we tried to make the rosters for Saturday as even as possible,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “We went position by position and I think it’s about as even as we can get it. I debated on the different scenarios on what to do and I think the kids will enjoy it and the fans will too. There will probably be some offensive inconsistencies because of the mixing and matching but we’d have that problem if we did ones and twos so we might as well divide it up and make it entertaining and very competitive.”

Freeze is looking for the team to have fun and bring great passion to the game on Saturday.

“I want to see our kids have a lot of fun and have great energy, passion and compete,” he said. “I don’t expect perfect execution because we still aren’t there in a normal practice so I want my expectations to match what reality will bring. But, I do expect them to have fun and compete.”

Through the team’s 15 spring practices, Freeze say improvements on both ends of the ball, most notably on the defensive side of the ball.

“Defensively we made a good bit of improvement, offensively I think we still have a good bit to go but there was progress made,” Freeze said. “The real question offensively was did we get the most out of the days we had and I think we are pretty close to that but we are still a lot way from where we need to be when we tee it up on the first Saturday in September.”

Available through the athletics ticket office, tickets are $10 general admission, $40 for the southzone club level and free for Ole Miss students, faculty and staff. All proceeds benefit the M-Club’s J.W. “Wobble” Davidson Scholarship Fund.

Saturday’s festivities will kick off with tailgating at 10 a.m. in The Grove with food, merchandise and children’s games, and at 10:45, the team will tread the traditional Walk of Champions. At 11 a.m. on the Grove stage, Eli Manning headlines a group of Rebel greats set to take part in an awards ceremony and panel discussion on the NFL.

Other events of Grove Bowl Week are the SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament Thursday through Sunday; the Chucky Mullins Award Banquet Thursday at 7 p.m.; a free concert in The Grove with Gavin DeGraw and special guest Craig Morgan Friday at 8:30 p.m. and a baseball weekend series against Arkansas.